Friday, December 23, 2011

About those Shepherds....

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
                                                                                          Luke 2: 8-10

A lot of times people talk about why the shepherds were the first to hear about Jesus' birth. The answer is usually that it was because shepherds were poor and on the fringes of society. Christ wanted to identify with those people. When taken with the visit of the rich and powerful wise men, the visit to the shepherds can show us that Christ came for all people.

I am sure that is true. But I wonder if there might be another reason as well. This isn't something I have heard before, but my theological reading hasn't been all that extensive.

I wonder if maybe God sent the angels to the shepherds first because.... God is a shepherd.

The Bible tells us that in the familiar 23rd Psalm. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." But there are numerous references to it as well:

A quote from Genesis 48 (Jacob speaking):

“May the God before whom my fathers
   Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully,
the God who has been my shepherd
   all my life to this day,
16 the Angel who has delivered me from all harm
   —may he bless these boys.
May they be called by my name
   and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they increase greatly
   on the earth.”

King David, the man after God's own heart, was a shepherd boy when he was annointed.

Jesus, during his ministry, tells several parables about shepherds and identifies himself as a shepherd, perhaps as part of letting people know he is God. ( John 10: 1-21 )

Actually there are 118 references to shepherds in the NIV version of the Bible, according to  ( Shepherd references listing )  I think God has an affinity for shepherds and that is why he chose them for this.

Those are just some thoughts I have had on the Christmas story this season. What are yours?


Linus explains Christmas to Charlie Brown.  
Thanks, Charles Schulz


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Ginberbread What?

We were cutting out gingerbread cookies yesterday. We made plenty of angels, reindeer, trees, people and camels. But we also cutters for other holidays, so Jordan decided to go with a Watership Down theme. We, therefore, have a whole warren of gingerbread rabbits.

A bit unusual for Christmas, I admit. But it does show that a really good story can stick with you. Jordan has been joyously busy getting ready for Christmas and is excited about his upcoming trip to Disney World. We finished reading and discussing Watership Down two weeks ago, but even given all that it is still on his mind.

Watership Down is about rabbits, but it's a real boys story. It has danger, fights, even war. Parts of it are downright brutal. It's full of examples of courage, leadership and self-sacrifice. Well - written, conversational in style and real, this is what Charlotte Mason would call a living book. No twaddle here.

I am happy to have gingerbread rabbits because it shows how deeply Jordan has connected to a good piece of literature.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


"It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mostly in need of freedom. Without this, it goes to wreck and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty."
                                                                                ~Albert Einstein

All parents, with very few exceptions, want what is good for our children and we know them best. I firmly believe that God has placed each child with the parents who have the best potential to give them the environment and stimulation they need.

I am a homeschooling Mom. I am not an unschooler. I have been at this six years and am still finding my way, experimenting with styles, methods and curricula.

For some the best way to learn is school, for others it is not.

So, what do your children need? What works for them? What ideas do you have to share? How's it going?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Virus

This is going around the internet in various forms. I thought it was worth sharing. 

The Advent Virus 

Satan sent this memo to his demons. 


From: His Infernal Majesty
To: All Demons and Denizens of Death


Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:
  • A tendency to think and act generusly and lovingly
  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  • A loss of interest in judging other people.
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  • A loss of interest in conflict.
  • A loss of the ability to worry. 
  • Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation and thankfulness.
  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and and with God.
  • Frequent attacks of smiling.
  • An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
  • An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
  • A realization that Jesus really is the son of our Enemy Above and the overwhelming desire to tell everyone about Him
This last symptom -- the most dangerous one of all -- comes in the form of inviting people to church, writing cards or letters or making long delayed telephone calls and performing acts of service in Christ's name. It shows up in all circumstances, leading people to praise God and love people. It causes them to take even the smallest opportunities to be like Jesus to those around them.

Be warned that this virus is highly contagious. Once the humans in your sphere of temptation get exposed to God's love, full recovery is seldom possible. I urgently direct you to do your literal damnedestto cause them to focus on the materialistic side of the holidays. Allow stress to take over. Get them so busy that they don't have time to reflect on the birth of their Savior.

If this virus gets out of hand we could end up wit something terrible like "peace on Earth"  -- and if that happens, let me assure you, there will be Hell to pay.

Do you have the Advent Virus? Will you spread it? How will guard against Satan's antidotes?

Fresh Salsa

I was asked to bring chips and salsa to a Christmas party recently. I remembered something of a recipe for homemade salsa and decided to make my own. Something of an experiment, but it seemed to be a success. Very mild. Requires overnight preparation.

Finely chop a quarter of a white onion and half a green pepper. (If desired, include a small amount of either jalepeno or chili pepper.)

Add a shake of chili powder, a bit of freshly ground coriander, a few shakes each of black pepper and lime pepper, a shake of cumin. Adjust to taste. Add cilantro and a bit of garlic if desired. Mix and place in fridge overnight or for eight hours.

Two to three hours before serving, cut up two pints of grape (or cherry) tomatos and add to mixture. Chill. Serve with tortilla chips or similar. Can be used as a vegetable dip.

Like most of my recipes this one isn't very precise. But I hope you like it and find it useful.

Merry Christmas!!